Connecting European startups with Silicon Valley: IMPACT’s #DigitalMission

Side note: Googling “Google Maps” is not an effective way to find the company’s address.

No man is an island,” as English poet John Donne famously wrote in the 17th century.

“And no startup is an island, either,” he might have added if he had written that line today.

No matter the wording, the point remains that we are all interconnected, like it or not. Working together, we form a community much stronger than any one of us in isolation. This is true for individuals as well as for startups and other organizations.

At IMPACT Accelerator, we are actively working to build bridges between the European startup ecosystem and the wider world. In October, we brought four of our startups on a Digital Mission to London for a whirlwind week of visits and meetings with investors, clients, partners, and organizations.

London meeting selfie!

In late November of this year, we went on another Digital Mission, this time to Silicon Valley.

(This trip has been in the making for months — you might remember our last post about the preparations we did over the summer.)

The purpose of our Digital Missions is to connect top players in the Digital Mission location with individual IMPACT startups and our organization as a whole. European startups have a lot to offer — more than most people outside the area know about. Our goal is to draw attention to the highest-performing startups and foster mutually beneficial relationships between investors and budding companies.

Top-funded startups by European country, courtesy of the ever-excellent CB Insights.

Our digital mission had three stages: selecting the startups, preparing the agendas, and the trip itself.

1.Selecting the startups. IMPACT is currently wrapping up the IMPACT Extension Program, an intensive course of acceleration in which we awarded 11 startups with mentoring, training, and €50,000, equity free. All of these startups also had the opportunity to apply to the Silicon Valley Digital Mission. We then evaluated the applications to see which startups were most ready in terms of business development, growth, and investment readiness.

The four chosen were Fueloyal, Glamping Hub, Measurence, and Situm.

These were the four startups selected for the Silicon Valley Digital Mission.

2.Preparing the agendas. The most important part of the mission is, of course, the connections. That’s why we worked hard in the weeks and months leading up to the Digital Mission to organize a full schedule of meetings. We surveyed the startups before the trip to know who they were most interested in meeting with. Then we did everything in our power to achieve those meetings. Each startup was able to meet one-to-one with investors, potential partners, and interested clients.

Additionally, we organized group visits to iconic places such as Google and Playground.

We also visited 500 Startups.

Finally, startups had some free time to arrange their own meetings.

3.The visit itself. After lots of preparation, the trip itself finally took place the last week of November. Each startup sent one team member to San Francisco. Team members flew in from places as varied as Chicago, USA and Seville, Spain. We went from meeting to visit, packing as much value into our time as possible.

We even managed to squeeze in a tiny bit of sight-seeing between appointments. (Photo: Talal Benjelloun)

Now everything is said and done, and we are all back at home. But the trip will have long-lasting effects, as the startups follow up with contacts they made while in the Valley.

The feedback was positive:

“IMPACT’s digital mission to Silicon Valley was a unique opportunity to meet the most important startup ecosystem of the world and understand what should be done to be part of it.” — Victor Álvarez, Situm
We were excited to visit Salesforce for Startups!
“The Silicon Valley mission organised by IMPACT brought us the opportunity to learn a lot about how business is done in San Francisco and the bay area, and it also opened up many doors with investors and our industries players, where we will be following up with soon with some partnerships.” — Talal Benjelloun, Glamping Hub
It’s hard to say for sure what Talal is eating here, but we could take a wild guess.
“Awesome experience and trip. So helpful for us.” — Jurica Magoci, Fueloyal

We talked about building a bridge between Silicon Valley and Europe. Now that bridge has been built and traffic is flowing back and forth. We look forward to continuing to nurture these connections. Together we can do great things!

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